During Michigan’s team trip to Italy, Jim Harbaugh got to meet the Pope and give him a Wolverines helmet and a pair of Jordans. But we’ve also learned that the coach got the chance to have a brief, private conversation with Pope Francis, and, by journalisming, we have received the transcript of that conversation.
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JIM HARBAUGH: Your Holiness, I am so honored that you’d grant me a private audience.
POPE FRANCIS: ...who let you in here? These are my personal quarters.
HARBAUGH: Not to be rude, but the Swiss Guard can’t handle a twist to save their freaking lives. Or your life, I guess.
POPE FRANCIS: Please don’t kill me.
HARBAUGH: Ha, this sounds like a recruiting visit! No, I only wanted to tell you how much the Church’s teachings have meant to be as a leader of young men. Specifically the parables shared by Jesus in the gospels.
POPE FRANCIS (brightening considerably): Well, that’s wonderful to hear. Which parables do you find most inspiring? The story of the mustard seed, perhaps?
HARBAUGH: TOP NOTCH PARABLE, POPE. The way that seed really blossoms into an every down running back once you get it into a proper strength program. “And it grew and became a tree that was not afraid to hit the hole and pop a linebacker right in the chin strap.”
POPE FRANCIS: I...am not familiar with this translation...
HARBAUGH: Or the parable of the Lost Sheep. I love this one whenever someone tells me I’m running up the score. TOUCHDOWNS ARE MY FLOCK AND I WILL GATHER EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM YOU WHINY BABIES.
POPE FRANCIS: Well, I’m not sure that’s the lesson to be t-
HARBAUGH: The Prodigal Son’s probably my favorite because it’s about the healing power of steak. Oh, and I love the miracles of Jesus, too. Raising Lazarus? That’s about toughing it out with an injury. Feeding the multitudes? Pope, I’ll tell you, that’s the original training table right there.
POPE FRANCIS: My child, while I may quarrel with your exegesis, your fervor and passion is beyond reproach. May I offer you a blessing before you go?
HARBAUGH (holding back tears): Of course, your Holiness. I actually have a benediction I prepared for the occasion, if you wouldn’t mind.
POPE FRANCIS: Why not. “Blessed Father, thank you for helping us see the light of the way in a world full of distraction and deception. Your love is a reminder that faith is more powerful than any law, any government, any review booth. Help us to remember the truth of the word: that Jesus died that we may live, that You will welcome all who seek your embrace, and that the spot was definitely, in no way, good.” I’m confused by that last b-
HARBAUGH (into a phone): YOU HEARD HIM URBAN HE SAID IT AND THAT MEANS GOD SAYS IT